For the manufacturers of waxes, solvents and additives, 2007 was a solid year, although there are
Photo courtesy of Colloides Naturels, Inc.
“Lubrizol’s waxes and additives lines followed a very strong year in 2006 with another good year in 2007,” said Josh Rosenheck, commercial platform manager, surface modifiers, Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc. “We are on track to reach our sales and volume goals. However, escalating raw material pricing continues to be a challenge for us and our customers.”
“Micro Powders and the industry in general were aided by the strong euro, but the decline in quality requirements for goods manufactured in China has led to a decline in our business there,” said Warren Pushaw, president, Micro Powders, Inc. “The U.S. was strong with new products and/or markets driving the increase.”
“Overall, our packaging/graphic arts business is up in volume globally but down slightly in value,” said Bob LieBerman, global market manager for Cognis Corporation. “Where we see the biggest impact is in profitability, which is down once again versus last year as a result of not being able to fully offset raw material increases as well as increased competitive pressures. The additive portion has seen similar trends.”
David Sutton, North American marketing manager for industrial biocides at Rohm & Haas, said his company did reasonably well in 2006, adding that he anticipated modest growth in the industry.
Ibrahim Zidan, head of global technical marketing printing inks/global key account manager marketing printing business for Clariant Produkte Deutschland GmbH, noted that the business remains challenging.
Waxes, solvents and additives manufacturers are observing a number of important trends among their customers, with the interest in environmentally-friendly chemistries particularly noticeable.
“We are tied into the shifts with major customers, and follow the growth and effects of continued innovation, integration and globalization,” said Joon Choo, vice president of Shamrock Technologies. “There is more focus towards being ‘green’ with environmentally-friendly products and practices. We are continuing with design of new additives for aqueous and UV inks.”
“Environmental importance/ sustainability are key issues today and will continue to be moving forward,” said Mr. LieBerman. “To be successful in the future, companies will need to offer improved products that meet these needs – sustainable, lower carbon footprints, based on renewable resources, environmentally more friendly, etc.”
Mr. Sutton noted that there is more of a push toward low VOC and formaldehyde-free options.
Mr. Pushaw noted the ink industry’s consolidation and cost-consciousness among the trends he is seeing.
“Consolidation of ink manufacturers seems to be the biggest trend,” Mr. Pushaw said. “Formulators and purchasing agents seem to be cutting costs at the expense of quality. Much of what used to be printed in the U.S. has crossed our borders.”
Mr. Rosenheck believes that innovative technology remains a priority for ink manufacturers.
“The ink industry continues to search for a balance between cost- efficient materials and innovative problem-solving technologies,” Mr. Rosenheck said. “Although price is always a concern, Lubrizol believes that customers will continue to put a high value on superior quality, supplier-differentiating technology that will help meet and exceed their customer’s needs.”
Raw Material Costs
As has been the case throughout the entire supply chain, higher raw material costs are impacting the manufacturers of waxes, solvents and additives, particularly as crude oil prices soar into the mid-$90s per barrel
“Oil-related feedstocks continue to put upward pressure in pricing, pulling along the secondaries,” Mr. Choo said. “Trying to pass along these increases continue to be difficult.”
Mr. Choo noted that Shamrock Technologies is focusing on efficiency gains and increasing production in growth areas to meet new customer demands.
“Both supply and prices continue to be a concern from a raw material point of view,” Mr. Rosenheck said. “However, our purchasing team has done an excellent job in securing strong supply agreements. The prices of raw materials track the turbulent oil market.”
“To help control raw material prices in the future, Lubrizol continues to invest in corporate research projects that focus on the increased ability to use a wider range of materials, in addition to internalizing some raw materials to provide both price and supply stability,” Mr. Rosenheck added. “To address more current concerns, our purchasing team relentlessly focuses on strengthening our relationships with our suppliers, both to try to combat price increases and to accept certain increases, where necessary, so that they will have minimal impact on our customers.”
“While the situation has improved over prior years there is still instability and high demand in key feedstocks resulting in continued raw material pressures,” said Mr. LieBerman. “It is anticipated this will continue in 2008.
“We continue to investigate alternate raw material sources to hold pricing down,” said Mr. LieBerman. “Technical emphasis has been on developing improved performing, more environmentally friendly materials (additives and resins) to meet these industry needs. More emphasis is given in developing proprietary backbones in conjunction with our key global customers to guarantee a higher level of success in commercialization.”
“As raw material costs increase, higher energy costs and unfavorable currency exchange effects resulted in enduring pressure on the gross profit that could not be compensated by price increase,” said Mr. Zidan. “Besides increasing our prices (what we can’t avoid), we continue to improve our internal processes, effectiveness and efficiency resulting further improvement in our SG&A costs. While we are committed to continue to develop new products which meet our customer needs and add value to our business, we will be focusing more on the must-needs and less on the nice-to-have needs. That means, designing products for fit-to-use where our customer appreciate them.”
“We are in a strong global supply position,” Mr. Sutton noted. “The greatest challenge is the cost and complexity of implementing regulatory compliance.”
Mr. Pushaw said that the relative weakness of the U.S. dollar is a source of concern.
“Raw materials were relatively stable for the better part of the year,” Mr. Pushaw noted. “The geopolitical atmosphere has greatly affected oil and fine chemicals pricing. Shortages in the U.S. may be in the future if the U.S. dollar remains weak to the euro and Canadian dollar.”
“We source on a worldwide scale and sell only quality,” Mr. Pushaw said. “Very often a quality item can end up costing less. We have also expanded into new markets that were not previously traditional to Micro Powders but nevertheless close to our charter.”
Expectations for 2008
Manufacturers of waxes, solvents and additives have mixed expectations for the coming year. Mr. Choo said that 2008 should be “steady as she goes.”
“With a newly adopted focused corporate image and another strong, yet challenging, year in 2007, Lubrizol is eagerly and optimistically looking forward to 2008,” Mr. Rosenheck said.
“We anticipate continued pricing pressure from raw materials and competitors in 2008,” Mr. LieBerman said, adding that the global economy will be a critical factor in how 2008 develops.
“We expect a challenging business also for 2008, but we are well prepared,” said Mr. Zidan.
“2008 is going to be a fight,” Mr. Pushaw concluded. “We expect some manufacturing to return to the U.S. REACH is going to inflict far ranging demands on already tight resources in order to satisfy the politics. In spite of the challenges ahead we expect 2008 to be a year of growth.”
New Waxes, Solvents and Additives
The following listing includes products introduced to the ink industry in 2007.
Clariant International AG
4132 Muttenz, Switzerland
Phone: +49 69 305 5135
Fax: +49 69 305 29853
Web: www. Clariant.com
• Ceridust 6050M
Comments: Ceridust 6050M is a micronized polypropylene wax based on Clariant’s latest metallocene technology. It is used in solvent- or oil based printing inks as an anti-slip (anti-skid) additive.
• Ceridust 9322 F
Comments: Ceridust 9322 F is a micronized polyethylene/PTFE blend which provides oil-based inks excellent rub fastness.
• Licowax OP
Comments: Licowax OP is a montan wax, and is actually a product with a long history in the plastics and polish industry. Underlining the exceptional versatility of montan waxes, Licowax OP as well as the similar Licowax OM have now found a new application as rheology modifiers and anti-misting additives in oil-based inks.
• Ceridust 3731
Comments: Ceridust 3731 is a micronized wax based on a polar polyethylene. It was designed for water-based inks and features an improved dispersion stability compared to conventional PE waxes.
• Ceridust 3621 F
Comments: Ceridust 3621 F is a micronized modified polyethylene wax with PTFE. It is highly recommended for offset inks and provides excellent rub resistance. Its usage is very economic.
300 Brookside Ave.
Ambler, PA 19002-3498
Phone: (215) 628-1166
Fax: (215) 628-1111
• Loxanol EFC 200 and 300
Comments: Loxanol EFC 200 and 300 are proprietary, 100% active sustainable/environmentally-friendly ester solvents based on renewable resources designed to replace petroleum-based slow evaporating glycol ethers and/or branched ester solvents for waterborne systems. Both products exhibit very good coalescing effect, strong improvement in gloss, no negative influence on urethane rheology modifiers and low odor.
• Perenol S-57/S-58
Comments: Perenol S-57/S-58 are 100% active, solvent-free surfactant polyether modified polysiloxane additive which exhibit higher gloss, reduced COF, excellent substrate wetting, improved scratch and mar resistance, better flow and leveling and good re-coatability at low dosage as compared to other silicone backbones. Products typically used at 0.05-1% level on formulation based on the type of performance enhancement desired. They can be used in energy cure, water- and solvent-based inks and coatings.
Colloides Naturels, Inc.
1140 US Hwy 22, Suite 102
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Phone: (800) 872-1850
Fax: (908) 707-9405
• LITHOGUM Plus and LITHOGUM Premium
Comments: At the beginning of 2007, CNI launched LITHOGUM, a full range of purified instantized acacia gum products obtained from an innovative and proprietary technology. LITHOGUM Plus and LITHOGUM Premium have been designed to be used as a desensitizer in two key components of offset printing. In plate finishers, LITHOGUM is a unique hydrophilic film-former that adheres tightly to the metal plate and provides resistance to minor abrasions and fingerprints while also preventing oxidation. The LITHOGUM layer will keep the non-image area free from ink, while retaining moisture supplied by the dampening system. In fountain solutions, LITHOGUM renews the film of desensitizer that constantly degrades on the plate during a press run. LITHOGUM thus helps reduce image wear and prolong plate life. As a result, LITHOGUM maintains the print density and the background cleanliness for a longer time, adding value and efficiency. LITHOGUM products are all-natural, eco-friendly (non-polluting, non-toxic, biodegradable), with no disposal issues.
Hexion Specialty Chemicals
9166 S. 47th St.
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
Phone: (262) 947-7300
Fax: 262) 947-7328
• Fluoron 735 PTFE Dispersion
Comments: Fluoron 735 is a proprietary grade of PTFE dispersed in a unique, 100% non-volatile, lubricating paste. Fluoron 735 is recommended where superior slip, rub and cost savings are required.
• Ultrafine 504 and Ultrafine 508 PTFE Powders
Comments: Ultrafine 504 and Ultrafine 508 are high performance, cost-effective, polytetrafluoroethylene fine powders. Ultrafine 504 and 508 are recommended where lubricity, slip, abrasion and heat resistance may be required.
• Ultrafine 100 and Ultrafine 100G PTFE Powders
Comments: Ultrafine 100 and Ultrafine 100G are economical grades of polytetrafluoroethylene fine powders recommended where lubricity, slip, abrasion and heat resistance may be required.
800 Estes Ave.
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Phone: (847) 593-5200
Fax: (847) 427-1500
• SA-1193 Anti-misting agent
Comments: Inksolutions has developed a clean way to control misting without dramatically changing the ink rheology. The product can be used in all litho inks: sheetfed, heatset, UV and hybrid.
• DriCat 408X
Comments: DriCat 408X is a new drier that will allow you to utilize a non-yellowing drier system. Excellent for overprint varnishes or light color blending colors. DriCat 408X is used in the same way that traditional driers are used. Usage levels are 2-4%.
Comments: SA-1125 is a water-balance additive to help improve lithographic ink performance. SA-1125 is a highly concentrated vehicle that is very effective at low usage levels (0.20 -0.75%). SA-1125 can be used in sheetfed or heatset ink that are printed with water.
• Mill Sheen
Comments: Mill Sheen is an organic paste that has been formulated to clean three-roll mills without damaging them. It reduces wash-up time, saves on consumable rags and solvents, and cleans roller safer than conventional methods.
P.O. Box 12 04
Phone: +49 (0) 6763 93 33 30
Fax: +49 6763 93 33 33
• MD 2007 and MD 2030
Comments: The latest aqueous ULTRALUBE wax micro dispersions MD-2007 and MD-2030 are produced by a patented technology, and are unique in their specific properties: MD-2007, produced without emulsifier and based on a buffable wax compound, is especially suited for the production of various polishes (cars, leather, etc.), while MD-2030 is based on a chemically modified HDPE-wax for the use in various types of inks and coatings, improving their especially very strongly surface lubricity, scratch and abrasion resistance as well as anti-blocking.
Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc.
9911 Brecksville Road
Cleveland, OH 44141
Phone: (216) 447-5000
Fax: (216) 447-5238
• CC-7649 polyethylene compound and CC-7647 PTFE compound for energy-curable inks.
Comments: Introduced in 2007, these tri-functional monomer and oligomer blends are designed to provide good rub-resistance and slip for energy-curing systems.
Micro Powders, Inc.
580 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591
Phone: (914) 793-4058
Fax: (914) 472-7098
• POLYFLUO 535
Comments: POLYFLUO 535 is recommended for use in offset, letterpress, UV, flexo and gravure inks, as well as solvent-borne and water-based paints and coatings. POLYFLUO 535 is an economical grade of micronized, modified fluorocarbon, which has been specially processed for easier dispersion, better gloss retention, and faster particle mobility. POLYFLUO 535 has been micronized to a very fine 1-2 NPIRI grind gauge reading, which eliminates the need for prior compounding, grinding or melting.
• PROPYLFLUO 824
Comments: PROPYLFLUO 824 is recommended for use in the following areas: flexo, gravure, sheetfed (quick set), UV printing inks; coil coatings, industrial paints or finishes and all types of overprint varnishes (OPVs) PROPYLFLUO 824 is a unique combination of high melt point polymeric polypropylene and PTFE that has been micronized to a 2.0-3.0 NPIRI grind gauge reading. PROPYLFLUO 824 can be easily dispersed into printing inks, paints or coatings with high-speed dispersion equipment. PROPYLFLUO 824 has been formulated to impart the gloss reduction and blocking resistance usually associated with polypropylene, along with the lubricity (slip) provided by PTFE.
Rohm and Haas
100 Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (877) 288-5881
Fax: (215) 641-7027
• ROCIMA BT NV2
Comments: ROCIMA BT NV2 is a liquid, VOC-free biocide for broad-spectrum protection against bacteria and fungi in high-pH systems. It is formaldehyde-free.
Foot of Pacific Street
Newark, NJ 07114
Phone: (973) 242-2999
Fax: (973) 242-8074
• Hydrocer 584
Comments: Hydrocer 584 is a stable 35% aqueous dispersion of a specialty blend of PE waxes for water-based inks and coatings which provides excellent abrasion and slip with moderate impact on gloss and clarity. This product can be post-added after let down using mild agitation.
• Hydrocer 59
Comments: Hydrocer 59 is a 30% aqueous polypropylene wax dispersion. It is designed to impart non-skid properties in overprint varnishes. It is recommended for anti-slip and matting.
• MF 3205
Comments: MF 3205 is a micronized, dark gray, process controlled PTFE with a remarkably low average particle size for thinner films that require excellent rub and slip performance.
• Hydrocer 132
Comments: Hydrocer 132 is a 40% aqueous dispersion of S-232N1 for water-based inks and coatings which provides maximum wet scuff resistance, lubricity, hardness, and anti-blocking properties. Hydrocer 132 gives excellent slip and rub performance while maintaining gloss and clarity.